Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on.
~Elif Shafak

It is human nature to seek love; to feel it, to give it, to receive it. Yet more often than not, the seeking happens externally rather than internally. As the quote above says, love is within us and waits to be discovered. So why do we get caught up in seeking it outside?

I am just as prone to this as anybody else. I love myself…enough. I love the parts that I like. I love my gifts of playing piano, intuitive energy and crystal healing, and writing. I love my ability to cook, to be efficient in tasks, and to savor Mother Nature. There are more things I could include, but my point lies elsewhere.

I also get frustrated with myself… allowing fear to interfere.

I get frustrated when I believe that I’m falling short of being a good friend or spouse. (Fear of not being enough.)

I get frustrated with myself when I put the emotional needs of others before mine. (Fear of creating conflict.)

I get frustrated when I don’t stand up for myself. (Fear of judgment for speaking my truth.)

I get frustrated when I notice myself comparing myself to others. (Fear of being inadequate.)

No, I don’t wallow in this frustration and it doesn’t happen daily, but it happens. Rather than being vulnerable and gentle with myself, fear creeps in.

If I am to embrace my acronym for love-Language of Vulnerable Experiences-I can discover the love within more deeply.

Instead of fearing that I’m not a good friend or spouse, I can be more vulnerable and see that I offer the best I can in any given moment. If the needs of the other weren’t met, it isn’t due to a deficiency on my part. In any given moment, I am offering my best in terms of loving and accepting where I am and sharing what I am able to share. This honors the release of the need to have all the answers, erase pain or sadness, or even have the ‘magic words’ to make troubles disappear.

I choose to be vulnerable and love myself enough to see that I offer my best at all times.

Putting the emotional needs of others before mine is an unhealthy, familiar habit of mine. I dance with this one more often than I care to admit. I’m not a fan of conflict. I prefer to avoid it at all costs. Because of this, I end up stifling my feelings all in the name of keeping the peace. Although there is a laundry list of past experiences that support my willingness to keep my mouth shut, it has yet to serve me. I find that sharing how I’m feeling is vulnerable in and of itself. When sharing is then met with resistance or defensiveness, my insides start to tremble. Literally. My ultimate goal of experiencing the fullness of love includes loving myself enough to know that I have a right to feel how I feel AND I have the right to express those feelings in a clear, healthy way. As I continue to deepen self-love around my feelings, I build courage through journaling. Not only does journaling offer a safe space to feel my feelings, it also allows me the opportunity to find clarity around the feelings and understand what I need.

I choose to be vulnerable and love myself enough to feel my feelings.

When I don’t stand up for myself, it’s often a mix of pieces at play. Not only is there a fear of judgment, but a sense of a lack of courage. Can I stand in my belief—alone--? Can I love myself enough to know that I am much more than one belief; that someone else’s disagreement doesn’t mean I’m a bad person? Can I love myself enough to know that what I am aligned to is important to me and, ultimately, all that matters? Can I love myself enough to see me for who I am? It’s an interesting dance to notice what is behind not standing up for myself, including my sheer desire to avoid conflict.

I choose to be vulnerable and love myself enough to courageously align to and speak my truth.

Comparing myself to others is my low self-esteem hangover. Once upon a time, I used to wrestle with comparisons on a regular basis. I’m grateful for the self-esteem boost that has happened…as a result of loving myself. Not only am I discovering the love within, I am accepting it…as fully as I can in any given moment.

I choose to be vulnerable and love myself enough to celebrate who I am, free of comparisons.

Love is a vulnerable, tender, courageous experience. You don’t need a ‘special someone’ in order to love. YOU are your very own special someone. Celebrate your own language of vulnerable experiences to honor and cherish who you are. You deserve it.

Walking together in light, love, peace…and more love.

Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on. _Elif Shafak

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